Monique Barker

Textures and Colors

I’ve practiced the art of pile rug knotting on the loom since 1986, when I met my teacher, Karma Sherap near Katmandu, Nepal.

With patience and determination I have realized the beautiful simplicity of this ancient art.

The creation of a woven cushion or wall piece involves many steps, from researching a new design to spinning and dying the yarn. I like to create my own palette with natural dyes, and wool absorbs these dyes beautifully. The weaving is executed on a vertical loom. It may take months to complete a woven piece, depending on the size and complexity of the design.

When I was an art school student in Paris, I was fascinated by shamanistic masks. While learning to weave I came in contact with another aspect of Tibetan culture: Ceremonial dancing with terrific masks and costumes.

I already had experience with 3D work in clay from my days as an art student, and I practiced ceramic for five years.

So my experience resurfaced when I took on the new medium of mask making. I create masks with “Celluclay”, which is a dry paper pulp that is mixed with water. Much time is spent in modeling, then drying and sanding a smooth surface.

I apply a sealer before I paint the mask with natural pigments and acrylic paint. I like to adorn a mask with felted wool or with other fibers, to enhance its character. The advantage of papier- mache is the lightness. So I could wear a full mask when dancing in a parade.  Ashland is famous for its Halloween parade. When not in use, a mask can look great on the wall.

"Gate Keeper 1," by Monique Barker

“Gate Keeper 1,” by Monique Barker

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